On Friday, Dec. 16, 2016, Ms. Shirley Ellis, who has worked as the Executive Assistant for every MSMS Executive Director since the school’s founding finished up her last bit of work for the school she has called home for nearly 30 years.
“Being a part of the MSMS family since the school opened in 1988, Ms. Ellis has been a very important part of the success of MSMS, and we all owe her a great deal of gratitude. Words cannot express how much she will be missed,” said MSMS Executive Director Dr. Germain McConnell in an email informing the school of Ellis’ impending retirement.
Ellis was the second person to be hired at the school after the original Executive Director, Dr. Johnny Franklin was tapped in 1988 by the Mississippi Department of Education to captain the school.
“She was the first person I hired,” said Franklin in a recent interview. “Everything was new, and I truly would have been lost without her.”
Beyond her duties as Executive Assistant, many may not realize that Ellis has had an important role in nearly every official function at MSMS. An accomplished pianist, Ellis has played piano during nearly all school graduations, convocations, and ceremonies of light. All students who have graduated from the school have walked to music played by Ellis.
On her last day, Ellis was surprised by a special ceremony during which Dr. McConnell presented her with a plaque honoring her time at MSMS and most of the faculty and staff of the school stopped by to wish her well.
“MSMS is my home,” said Ellis. “This has been an extremely hard decision for me to make…I will miss you all. But I’m not gone, I’m still in Columbus, and you will see me around.”
With the retirement of Ms. Ellis, Mrs. Emma Richardson is the last of the original faculty/staff members to still be at the school.
We will all miss you Ms. Shirley.